In many respects I’m lucky that when I come home I don’t have to go to work!!! Well not in the sense of the financial remuneration kind anyway. Usually when I’m back, my nearest and dearest has a list of ‘jobs’ for me to do and throughout my time at home I get through them all. But my biggest benefit is that I’m my own man and can fit the jobs’ in around walking the dogs and strolling around our land with them.


With this in mind I thought it would be an a idea to take a look at a typical week with the dogs…………..well a sort of typical week!!!


As you read through this you might just recognize some of your own experiences with your own dog(s)………..of course these are my little anecdotes seen from both sides?

We have taught the dogs to stay within our land and although it is well fenced off we are surrounded by farms and with the farms come the sheep, lots of them…….equally we have been careful NOT to allow the dogs to show an interest in them. In this respect we have been very successful and so we provide them with plenty of other opportunities and interests to distract them away from the perimeter fencing. Like most rural areas we have our fair share of rabbits, and by implication – foxes. Now the fox leaves a strong scent wherever he goes and being territorial they predominantly take the same path – fox runs. The dogs spend hours in these runs………….

When I’m home, most of my work is outside the house, around the fields and in the woodland. When I’m out and about so to speak the dogs are always out with me come rain, hail or shine, they love it. And to be fair so do I, they are great to have running around me and in some cases just sitting or lying down near where I’m working.

So without further ado, let’s look at a week with the dogs.

Karen usually gets up in the morning before I do – I hide behind jet lag!!!!! Anyway, I make us a breakfast whilst she feeds the dogs and by the time we are all fed and watered they are ready to go out for their morning constitutional. I get my gear ready and boots on and at this point they know what’s coming and the excitement mounts………….the door opens, then there is a sort of canine charge of the light brigade.

Stooping bottoms and raised rear legs then ensue, then the legs come down and the stoops for the poops begin. And so does my first job!!! The Banker now takes on the roll of S*** Shoveller. For those of a nervous disposition that could be construed as the Pooper Scooper……..Anyway, it amounts to the same thing!!

This is all very well of course IF the weather is fine? Let’s take Mia for example. Now Mia will quite willingly go out in the fine weather for her constitutional moments. Enter the dreaded rain!!

When the dogs know they’re going out, they wait impatiently by the back door, Mia always stands at the back of course. The door opens and the charge begins….except that is for Mia?? Mia walks arrogantly to the open door and assesses the weather first!!! If its fine, out she goes, no problem……..however…….

Mia“I get to the door and can already smell that it’s raining, now from the comfort of the couch to going outside for a Pee and or Poo this is going to be wet coat and wet feet time”. “It’s probably windy and cold. Windy and cold, warmth and comfort, windy and cold, warmth and comfort”. “I’ll hold it till it stops raining”………..Thinks…..about turn and goes back in……no way I’m going out there those other idiots can go instead of me.

And then it snowed…….

Mia - again in the frost and snow……”forget it, I’ll hold it and hold it for as long as is caninely possible. Now that stuff is damned cold and the affect on my feet is very unladylike indeed” “it’s that fluffy white stuff as well, now that is a real pain in the A***, literally when it melts and freezes!!! A very difficult situation when I try to stoop and BAM…….good grief that’s cold” ………….”slowly now, gently down and…oooooh the relief at long last”. “It’s alright for them human creatures? They have a private place for theirs and its warmer, I have to suffer” “still, it is easier for him to pick up the Poo after it’s frozen for a while” (wry smile)

It’s play time and out we go to the fenced ménage where we take the dogs for training and play time. Now we have the Spinones of course, but we also have a couple of English Springer Spaniels and a Hungarian Vizsla, the ‘Viz’ and one of the Springer’s are getting on in life although their enthusiasm has not waned. The young Springer is a phenomenal retrieve dog and never fails. So to give the others a chance we leave him to the side at times. Enter JJ. Our Big Dog Spinone is a gem at retrieving, including quartering to find the ‘thing’ I’ve thrown either in the long grass at the side of the ménage or even in the ménage!! JJ will go all day, unlike me who’s arm is about to drop off………JJs instinct to pick up and retrieve knows no bounds……including the pond!!!! He retrieves from the pond even if I haven’t thrown anything in it!!! Bloody lunatic!!!!!

The pond is another story…….you can see a pond retrieve picture of JJ in our gallery. Take a look….you’ll see what I mean.

So while the ‘Viz’ is digging his way through to Australia somewhere (he is nowadays our JCB)!! The ‘Viz’ could dig for England. You think a Rabbit is good at burrowing, come and see the 4 legged JCB.

Meanwhile? Mia comes to join in – however Mia has not quite got to grips with pick up and retrieve, well, she has but once she has picked it up, it is of course, hers!! You can bribe that dog with anything, but there is no way will she give you the pickup. And when the other dogs try, she just growls at them. Nothing nasty of course, but it’s a sort of “Finders keepers” thing.

GAME OVER

The beach is good fun. We live near vast expanses of beaches and one in particular is simply superb to take them in the winter (the closed season) we go there for hours and they run their little socks off (what)!! (oh bless them)

Max our eldest dog and one of the aforementioned Springer’s, has, since we’ve had him from a pup, loved the water. On the beach he goes into the sea and does NOT come out!! One of us – well me – has to go in and get him. You can throw stones, sticks, plastic bottles – whatever, Max will attempt to retrieve it, although 9 times out of 10 the ‘Viz’ beats him to it (the ‘Viz’ does not dig sand, it’s beneath him)!!

Meanwhile, the Spinones are charging around all over the place. In the sea or out, it’s all the same to them.

Enter two Rooks? Now the rook is a clever bird, and on this day there is a dead fish washed up that is fair game to the rook…..the dogs love to chase the rooks and especially the Spins. Except the Spinone is well fed, 2 times a day and the food comes to them. No more marauding and hunt/kill as they probably did in the old days. Meanwhile the rook has had to adapt and eat when it can. This makes the Rook smart…….

So, the rooks are feasting……..the Spins spot the birds and give chase. Oh yes…….forgot to mention? The Rook can fly and a Spinone can’t!! the dogs close in at high speed, the Rooks look up and see them and take flight. The spins give chase to the low flying birds. One Rook peels off and goes back to eat, the other stays ‘just’ in front of the pursuing pack. The Rook flies around in large circles and yes you’ve guessed it…..the Spins are in hot pursuit. The Rook rises and peels off to go back to join its mate to eat. One of the Spins sees the decoy and goes after it, the others quickly follow. Then the Rook that WAS eating takes to the air and off we go again……..

Moral of story??

Take a packed lunch for the Rooks and let them exercise your dogs!!

Er………..that is of course except for the Spinone Pup? New world of opportunities exist for the puppy who is still learning. First, the water is water of course, but it’s not drinking water!!

Second is, that said pup (Savanna) is not as fast as the ‘big’ dogs and so gives up the chase after half a lap. Third, Jellyfish on the beach are ridiculous creatures. How the hell can anything eat them? Fourth, with the tide coming in why does the water go deliberately over me when I’m only stood in it knee deep? Fifth……..what the heck is wrong with that Springer?

Then of course is the issue of other ‘humans’ walking ‘their’ dogs on the beach…….”this is our beach and we were here first”. (nur nur nee nur nur) I will show aggression!!! Moments later – “Oh how nice they are stroking me and giving me food”!!

“Savanna” “come on then, what’s this”? “come on Savanna”

“Savanna COME”………….”Savanna COME HERE”
…….Aaargghhh………”Savanna….’please’ come here”

Savanna“now what’s he want”? “has he food bits for me” “doubt it” “and why’s he shouting, I’m not deaf” “and I’m a Spinone and sensitive to being shouted at” – WAIT? “what’s that in his hand”? Wind speed – check, wind direction – check, smell sense on full alert. Munchies in the breeze….
“he wins” “I need that munchy…………stay there and don’t move, don’t you dare give that to one of ‘THEM’……”Brilliant”. “Got it and a fuss as well…….this is good….must do this again it’s most rewarding”.

I’m worn out. Throwing sticks, plastic bottles, a tennis ball, getting the pup to release its dead fish it’s just brought to me with so much pride. And I’m wet through? How come the Spins run back out of the water and proudly run up next to you to shake rattle and roll? Why me? Those dog coats take on a lot of water that is then dispensed in a small but very effective storm all over you – and when you move away – they come with you!!!

Time to go……….and so we walk off – well I walk off and they follow. Sort of……..

We get to the steps that lead off the beach and its stock counting time. 1 ‘Viz’, 1 Springer, umpteen Spinones - ranging in size. Done.

Place leads on dogs for them to drag me up the steps back to the Land Rover. Now I love my Land Rovers………and we need one with the dogs, especially today. You see a beach predominantly consists of 2 things. sand and water.

So at this point I’m going to cover 2 issues here.

1. Getting the dogs (some) into the Landy and
2. Sand and sea = another job for me – clean the Landy!! Inside.

Now although the Landy is Karen’s!!!

Bankers note: I just buy it, Karen goes and picks it up and from then on the Landy is, “Her Landy”

“Hello dearest, can I have the keys to YOUR Landy PLEASE”?

“Why”? “it’s my Landy and why do you need it? “where do you think you’re going” “what for”……”at what speed do you intend to travel at” “how long will it be gone” “will you get it dirty” (it’s a Land Rover, they don’t do clean)

After filling in the questionnaire, Karen (known as the Dearest one, or something else, but that’s muttered) then takes her time to mark it and then the following:

“OK, you’ve scored well” (I smile) “However” (oh Poo) “when you’re out, I want it cleaned inside and out and the tank filled” “further, you are to bring back some chocolate for me and a packet of crisps in the flavour of cheese and onion”

“Oh yes dearest one, of course”

“you are to travel at no more than the legal speed limit and you must not stop and talk to people you know” – “you know what you’re like, you’ll be gone for hours”!!!! So the keys are handed over………jobs done I return home. I got the wrong crisps, and the chocolate bar had the wrong bits in it.

I’m on a 3 day Land Rover ban.

Sorry, I’ve digressed.

“Loading” the dogs into the Landy……….

You may have seen the Landy in the Italy trip pictures. If not go and read about it!!

Now the dogs (all of them) have only ever known the Land Rovers as the vehicle of choice for their travel, in style and comfort. Big dogs need big room and the Landy has plenty of room (see the Italy trip)!!

And no I’m not advertising Land Rovers. I am just biased!!

Anyway, the ‘Viz’ the Springer, and a couple of the Spins happily leap in. However, Mia being as she is, our first Spinone and easily the most arrogant suddenly loses all her energy and ‘just’ manages to put her front feet up on the back, for one of us (me) to hoist her in via lifting her back end. Not very dignified I admit, but it works. The pup of course is carried in. we shall see later on how that develops.

A couple of the others have copied Mia, they are both perfectly capable of course of jumping in…….but why waste a human that can make life so much easier? (anyway who was it that’s just spent hours running up and down the beach)?

At point of discharge (in this case home) or wherever we are going, they of course ALL leap out and although they don’t go anywhere (they wait for us to collect our stuff and lock up) but it amuses me, sort of, that they refuse to get in but have suddenly found the strength and energy to leap out. Now I wonder why that is?

By the way………have you noticed they know where they are and whether it’s work, rest or play. Ours know the beach and before we get there they are all alert and switched on to fun mode. Show mode is different…….as is going to someone else’s place. I t’s the same when we get back home, they instinctively know where they are and what’s going to come next. Usually food………..

OK………a little while back Kallie was in season. And so was JJ!!!!!!!!

Karen - (The Dearest One, remember her)? said to me “Now listen here, I’m going out in MY Landy and you’re to look after the dogs”

Me – “Oh Yes dearest one”

Karen – “Now Kallie is in season, so keep JJ away from her” “if you let them out, keep one or the other back”

Me – “Gulp” (oh oh, I don’t want to be here, this is trouble – Thinks – nearest available airport and flight)

Me – “oh yes dear, I will maintain a strict discipline to keep them apart”

Karen – “well it had better be better than the crisps and chocolate I told you to get me when I leant you MY Landy, you will be down Poo alley without the Scooper if you don’t keep them apart”

Me – (Meek moment) “I understand dear and understand the seriousness of your command”

Keep them apart, huh, that should be easy!!

Bitch in season versus Dog who has raging hormone syndrome!!

When I was young, did I go round walking funny with hip thrusting movements at the sight of every nice girl? Well of course I did……..no sorry. I didn’t, I was a respectable young man. (with raging hormones but controlled the hip movements) Just.

So why can’t that damned dog?

What is wrong with him?

He howls - now and again

He has tried charging the door down a couple of times and

He has now taken to thrusting hip movements on everything with or without legs, animal, mineral, vegetable – everything.

Thought: Oh God!! I had better keep him away from the horse…….she’ll kick him into the space station!! Beep…….”Houston, we have a problem” “one of the female astronauts reports a dog humping her leg” Beep…………”Roger that” (No pun intended)

Anyway, where was I – oh yes JJ and his amazing flexible hips.

“And make sure you keep him well away from her…..OK”? (ringing in my ears)

With Kallie left behind I let the dogs out, and for a while all is fine. Then in a moment of conducting a stock count on the dogs out with me I find myself stood in the field at the edge of the wood whistling and shouting across the valley……..”JJ, come here”

I have from an earlier whistle got ALL the other dogs with me and each has had a treat…….a small biscuit thing I carry in my pocket. Note: actually those little dog bone biscuit thingy’s aren’t that bad you know if you need a quick bite whilst you’re out and about. High in minerals and vitamins they are just the thing for that energy you need whilst mending a broken fence!!! OK, OK, so I tried a couple………..don’t even think it…….!!!!!

Anyway, back to JJ……..my lungs ache and my throat is sore from calling that lunatic back. I need a cup of tea.

I trundle back to the house with the pack in tow and to my amazement find the hormonal one (JJ that is) sat outside the door. Of course he must have come out with us, cocked his leg and doubled back to see if I had left the door open!! No way buddy…………….

And now the problem? I have to let Kallie out and let the others in!! this means that Kallie and scent will pass the hormonal one…….oh oh!!

So, me thinks, hold the hormone and let Kallie go, keep hold of the hormone, take him inside and stay out with Kallie to give her a run.

Theory 1 – Execution 0

Those of you old enough to remember Benny Hill will then appreciate the next bit to that memory…..and the music that went with the action!!

Now, JJ is a young and a VERY strong dog and he is much faster in 4 wheel drive than this Biped is in 2 wheel drive!!! Kallie runs out through the open door – she’s fine. The Banker now has to hold on to a raging hormone determined to flex his hips on the passing bitch in season. At this point all JJs instincts are now purely focused on hip movement…….not with me of course!! But the one called Kallie……..

I lose my grip and he’s off, not difficult to chase because I only have to see where Kallie is!! There then ensues yours truly AKA Benny Hill chasing JJ who’s chasing Kallie who’s running away from him!!! And me unfortunately.

I call Kallie to me and she makes her move only to be cut off by the Hormone…….I manage to divert his attention by slipping over just behind him and for a second he stops, but that is not enough. He’s off………I am sure Kallie thinks it’s a game. Well to me it’s a matter of life and death……”Keep her away from him” - that sentence echoing in my brain is like OB1 in Star Wars…remember that? “Use the force Luke”…………

The dearest one with light sabre and The Banker about to be struck down…….

Kallie stops, I’m 20 metres away, JJ closes her down in no time……..the tension mounts, JJ moves in and……..and……..sniffs her!!!!!! Oh God thank you…….Hallelujah (chorus)

Kallie just there stood wondering what’s going on, JJ sniffing her and Benny Hill gasping for oxygen. I walk up and grab JJ. This time my work is completed. I have him. And he didn’t have her…..we go back to the house.

Kallie safely in one room and JJ in the other.

The Banker (AKA Benny Hill) feet up on couch. Cup of Tea and a biscuit (human type this time)

Oh the peacefulness……….and suddenly, the door opens. It’s the Dearest one…”Everything OK”? she asks “did you manage to keep them apart as I commanded”?

“Oh yes Dear, no problem” “not as bad as I thought it would be” I lied - Croaking through a sore throat……………

I tried to get up off the couch but leg muscles were sore, I hid this from the Dearest one. I had a bruise on my thigh from when I slipped over and other than that, I was fine!!!……….a good week overall I thought, limping into the Kitchen.

Now where’s my flight tickets…………..

 


 

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